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Fire Safety Gets Illustrated

Joe and Debbie Lindner, co-founders and owners of Colorfully Yours, are used to hearing about people voting for County Executive Ed Mangano. But this time the vote is for them.

It’s all part of a campaign to help get their business $250,000 in funds from Chase Bank’s “Mission Main Street Grant.”

“We had a company Facebook page for people to vote. We couldn’t believe one of the votes came from the County Executive himself,” Joe says.

Colorfully Yours is a customized coloring book company that specializes in educating youngsters on fire prevention, recycling and emergency preparedness. Joe and Debbie started the company 25 years ago out of their Hicksville home when, as the saying goes, “necessity became the mother of invention.”

It all started at the Westbury Fire Department’s Memorial Day picnic in 1988, where Joe had been a volunteer. An emergency call came in for a “big-signal-ten” building fire. Most of the men at the picnic raced to the scene of the fire, while the women stayed behind to occupy the children.

That’s when Debbie, a professional illustrator, had a brainstorm. “I told Joe maybe I could do a coloring book all about the Westbury Fire Department to teach kids,” explains Debbie. Joe approached the Westbury Fire Chief who was all for it. So Joe and Debbie got to work.

It was the perfect marriage of their backgrounds, with Joe’s years in the Fire Department, and Debbie’s as a professional art illustrator.

“I had all the information about fire safety, and Debbie drew and wrote it,” states Joe. That first coloring book featured a personalized drawing of the Westbury firehouse in addition to the company's own fire trucks and an abundance of fire safety tips to educate children.

Within a month the Lindners got a call from the Hicksville Fire Department asking for its own customized coloring book. “That’s when I knew we were on to something,” says Joe.

Before long, the Lindners put out a mailing and with their young daughter Jennifer in tow, went knocking on firehouse doors Sunday mornings, which is when Joe knew fire department meetings were held. Slowly they built up their clientele.

As the company grew there was no slowing down for either of the Lindners, who both maintained full time jobs outside of the company; Joe as a New York City Police officer, and Debbie as an art illustrator, a job she stumbled upon on her path to her first dream of becoming a veterinarian. “When I was in college all my professors had me illustrate their classroom presentations and told me I should be a medical illustrator,” says Debbie.

She took their advice after returning home from college and landed her first illustrator job. Never one to “sit still,” she simultaneously joined Roslyn’s Air National Guard unit, following in the footsteps of her father.

It was there she met Joe, who was also in the Air National Guard after serving in the Air Force. The couple, who describes their 1983 meeting as “love at first sight,” were married within a year, settling in Hicksville where they operated Colorfully Yours out of their basement. By 2000, they outgrew their home based operations and moved to their current facility in Bay Shore.

Around 2008 when many companies were dealing with a lagging economy, both Joe and Debbie faced additional health issues, Debbie with Systemic Lupus, and Joe with Cancer, from his days working at Ground Zero in the aftermath of 9/11. Joe is in remission and Debbie has stepped down from her role at the company but remains co-owner and acts as creative consultant on a pro-bono basis.

To date, the company supplies coloring books and kits to 75 percent of Long Island’s Fire Departments, and several out of state markets. In 2010 they expanded beyond firehouses, with custom coloring books for local sanitation departments, water districts, and one for Nassau County about disaster preparedness.

For more information about Colorfully Yours, visit www.colorfullyyours.com

News

Due to what appears to be a colossal error on the part of the Nassau County Assessor’s office, or perhaps an errant interpretation of state law, more than 600 military veterans and Gold Star families in Hicksville will have to wait for their tax break until next year.

Hicksville is one of several local school districts that recently approved resolutions extending the exemption to local veterans, even though budgets and Albany’s tax cap make it a tough choice. On Feb. 26, with a contingency of veterans in the audience, the board voted to provide a school tax exemption for veterans living in the district, starting with the 2014-15 school year.

You’d expect volleyball, football and running the mile in gym class, but what about juggling, plate spinning, or riding a unicycle? For the past 30 years, The National Circus Project has been challenging typical notions of gym class by bringing skilled, trained circus artists into schools for performances and week-long workshops.

Every year, the Westbury based nonprofit goes into approximately 350 public and private schools all over the northeast, including a previous visit to Dutch Lane School in Hicksville. Teams of expert circus artists will come into a physical education class for either a day or week-long workshop. Students get a front row seat to a performance by some of the best in the business, as well as hands on experience with traditional circus skills such as juggling, wire walking or acrobatics. Students in the week-long workshop get to perfect a specific skill and show it off during a show at the end of the week for family members.


Sports

Cantiague Park Senior Men’s Golf League had its first tournament on Thursday April 4. Twenty golfers came out on on a crisp but sunny morning. Charlie Hong was the only man to score under a 40, with a 38 and won for low overall score. Jim O’ Brien  scored a 41, and won low overall net in a tie-breaker with Mike Guerriero.

Competition on the nine-hole course is divided into two divisions. Flight A is for players with a handicap of 13 or lower. Flight B is for players with a handicap of 14 or more. The league is a 100 percent handicap league. Any man 55 years or older is eligible for membership. We have many openings for this year, and you can sign up anytime throughout the the season.

This November, Hicksville resident Marlo Signoracci will head to Florida for Ironman, a demanding, long-distance triathlon that includes biking, running and swimming. Here, she shares her story as she prepares for one of the most physically challenging athletic events out there.

Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you. They are supposed to help you discover who you are.


Calendar

American Legion Meeting

April 21

HS Theater in the Round

April 24-26

Science Fair

April 26



Columns

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

Sustainable LI: Getting Good Things Done
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

LI’s ‘Most Prominent Lady In Politics’
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com